City Council, Public Hears from Firm Working to Recruit City Manager Candidates

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City Council heard from S. Renee Narloch on the recruitment process City Council heard from S. Renee Narloch on the recruitment process

The newly hired search firm working to recruit city manager candidates for the city of Charlottesville is addressing the public for the first time.

S. Renee Narloch spoke at the City Council meeting on Monday, November 5, providing a brief overview of how her search firm plans to recruit the best candidates from across the country.

Members of the public also got to weigh in on what they'd like to see, and a common theme was that they want the new hire to bring change.

“There is unity in this community in wanting things to get done,” Councilor Mike Signer said.

Charlottesville is working with both the executive recruitment firm S. Renee Narloch and Associates and members of the public to fill the city manager seat, which is currently held in the interim by Mike Murphy.

“We’re going to scour the nation for good, strong candidates,” Narloch said.

The firm is welcoming public input throughout the process, and on Monday night, Narloch got her first taste of what community members want.

“It’s important for us to get a handle on and understand some of the issues and challenges that are currently facing the city of Charlottesville again so that we can match up skillsets and candidates,” Narloch said.

Longtime city resident Mary Carey wants to see candidates who have an established record of government management.

“What you need to do is actually go out and find somebody with some kind of experience to come in this town and deal with what we’ve got and probably make it better,” Carey said.

Community activist Don Gathers is imploring the search firm to not count out internal candidates.

“I think it’s equally as important that you look within internally, because I think that we do have some viable people who could do a magnificent job in that particular position if given the opportunity,” Gathers said.

Ultimately, several community members questioned whether City Council will actually take public comment seriously.

“Are you really gonna listen to citizen input?” Walt Heinecke, who lives in the city, said. “And it’s about trust, and I think we have a huge trust problem in this community.”

“The new city manager, whoever that individual may be, he or she, will have to be a bridge builder because, once again, there is a huge lack of trust between the communities that you serve and the leadership that sits in these positions,” Gathers said.

The search firm is expected to host a number of public meetings throughout the process.

Right now, people are also invited to share their thoughts via an online survey that will be open through Friday, November 9.

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